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PC build slips into reboot cycle - approaching deadlines!

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Last response: in Systems
June 14, 2012 8:15:06 PM

I apologize if the answer to my problem is floating out there in the forum already, but I'm having to type this on a decrepit 11 year old Mac that doesn't lend itself to efficient research.

Just today my homebuilt workstation shut down suddenly and started slipping into a reboot cycle. It wouldn't even get to the mobo splash screen before shutting down and starting up again.

If I kill the power to the PC and wait a short bit (not sure if I have to wait a short bit, that's just what I've done) I can then get into windows and proceed as normal... until 5 minutes or so later the screen goes black and the reboot cycle starts again.

If I reboot in safe mode I can survive longer, but still after about 15 minutes it dies and starts the reboot.

I did note that when it rebooted from safe mode and tried to restart into normal mode it may have gotten to the mobo splash screen very briefly the first time around. I was looking away at the time, but I thought I saw a flash of blue on the screen out of the corner of my eye.

Any thoughts or advice on how to troubleshoot this? Is it the mobo? The CPU? The PSU? This is my first PC build (built in 2010) and I'm not sure how to go about testing these things.

Also, I've got two deadlines fast approaching next week and I may suffer a few minor heart attacks before I get a response on this.

Here's my build:

Processor: Intel i7-950 3.06GHz (not overclocked)
CPU Cooler: CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus
Mobo: ASUS P6X58D Premium
Memory: (2x) G.SKILL PI Series 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (Did notice recently that Windows is only recognizing 8 of the 12GB)
Graphics Card: PNY nVidia Quado 4000
PSU: SeaSonic X750 Gold 750W
SSD: Intel X25-M 160GB (OS and software)
HDDs: (4x) SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM (set up in a RAID 10)

One additional note that may or may not be of consequence: Last week I was forced to take my PC on a 1000 mile trip to Atlanta and back. Once or twice on the way back I had to leave it in the car for a bit, but it was never outrageously warm.

Any help would be incredible. Thanks.

More about : build slips reboot cycle approaching deadlines

a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 14, 2012 8:27:40 PM

My first guess would be that you have an overheating part. Probably the CPU.

However the endless reboots can also be failed POSTs which might indicated a RAM issue.

You need to re-seat everything. While you are at it, cleaning up the CPU heatsink and applying new paste sounds like a good idea.

Try booting with just one stick of RAM also, try each stick on it's own.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 14, 2012 8:30:22 PM

sounds like the cpu or the mb shutting dwon for an over heat issue. I would open the case and see that the cpu heat sink is still on the cpu. it could have been bounced off from the road trip. with the power off. reseat your ram and video card too. leave the side of the pc off and power it up and check that the cpu fan is moving and the gpu fan is moving...if the fan is not moving...replace the fan or see if the cpu fan is stuck. the other issue could be power issue or a bad cap...
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June 14, 2012 8:34:56 PM

Thanks Proximon and smorizio, I'll give all of that a try and report back.
June 15, 2012 5:19:22 PM

Okay-- the good news-- pulling the cpu, cleaning it and the heatsink, and reapplying thermal paste did the trick in terms of stablizing my computer.

However I now I have an equally if not more terrifying problem.

My RAID 10 drive is not being recognized. That would be my RAID 10 drive containing all my working files. It still shows up as the R drive as before, but if I click on it, I'm told that I the drive hasn't been formatted. I'm a novice with this sort of thing and right now my heart is in my throat wondering if I'm SOL.

Is my information recoverable???
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 15, 2012 8:34:19 PM

A RAID 10 has at least 4 drives, and so if you have a drive failure you should be able to recover.

However, I can think of other issues that might be more difficult. Also, trying to fix them without being sure of what you are doing could result in loss.

This is not a question for me though. Start a new thread in the storage section. And next time, back up your data :)  RAID is not a backup replacement.
June 16, 2012 12:10:35 PM

I was able to recover my data!

I used the method suggest in reply #7 by Deodatus here:

NOTE the addendum on page 2 of the thread (by Zoson):

"For Step 2. You do NOT delete the array. You reset each disk individually to non-raid members. This clears the raid metadata, without harming the partition table or data on the disks."

Also for anyone using this method it may be helpful to know that when you get to the select partition type section of testdisk, you may not necessarily choose "Intel partition" as mentioned in the step-by-step. Even though my RAID was less than 2TB, I apparently originally partitioned it as GPT. Thankfully testdisk auto-detected that for me.

What a relief!!!
a c 113 B Homebuilt system
June 17, 2012 5:07:00 AM

Good stuff. I thanked them for you ;)